HomeMovie NewsDavid McCullough & Philip Glass + Roman Polanski & Michael Moore: Documentaries to Watch

David McCullough & Philip Glass + Roman Polanski & Michael Moore: Documentaries to Watch

Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore
Michael Moore shooting Bowling for Columbine.

Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, Kevin Macdonald’s One Day in September, and Errol Morris’ The Fog of War are among the 12 Oscar-winning short and feature documentaries to be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Oscar’s Docs, Part Five: Academy Award-Winning Documentaries 1998–2003” beginning Monday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. The screenings will be held Monday evenings through Nov. 23.

“Oscar’s Docs” is a comprehensive screening series of every short subject and feature to win the Academy Award for documentary filmmaking since the category was established in 1941.

As per the Academy’s press release, “the retrospective will feature the best available prints from the documentary collection of the Academy Film Archive. All of the evenings will feature panel discussions with the filmmakers (schedules permitting).”

Encounters at the End of the World Werner Herzog AntarcticaEncounters at the End of the World: Werner Herzog braves Antarctica.

Werner Herzog in Antarctica and dwindling water supplies: Academy showcases ‘Encounters at the End of the World’ and ‘Flow: For Love of Water’

Werner Herzog’s Academy Award-nominated Encounters at the End of the World and Irena Salina’s Flow: For Love of Water will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 28th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission is free.

Directed by Herzog and produced by Henry Kaiser, Encounters at the End of the World shows how human beings interact with the harsh environment of Antarctica.

Flow: For Love of Water deals with the dire consequences of increased privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply.

Werner Herzog, Irena Salina, and Flow: For Love of Water producer Steven Starr will be present to take questions from the audience following the screening of their respective films.

‘Contemporary Documentaries’

The 28th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series is a showcase for feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2008 Academy Award nominations, including the winners, as well as other films considered by the Academy that year.

Except for the IMAX presentations on Dec. 9, all films will be screened on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater, located at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. Doors open at 6 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Ave. (one block north of Fountain Ave.). For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy’s website.

‘David McCullough: Painting with Words’ & ‘GLASS: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts’ Screening

David McCullough: Painting with Words (top); Philip Glass in GLASS: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts (bottom)

David McCullough: Painting with Words and GLASS: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 28th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series on Wednesday, November 4, at 7 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission is free.

Directed by Mark Herzog and produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, David McCullough: Painting with Words takes a look at the career of Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough (Truman, John Adams). Herzog will be present to take questions from the audience following the screening.

Shot on three continents over a period of 18 months, Scott Hicks’ GLASS: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts shows composer Philip Glass both at work and at home, in addition to delving into his relationship with spiritual mentors and longtime collaborators. Hicks, best known for the Academy Award-nominated Shine, also produced the documentary along with Susanne Preissler.

The 28th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series is a showcase for feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2008 Academy Award nominations, including the winners, as well as “other important and innovative films considered by the Academy that year.”

All films will screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., except for the IMAX presentations on December 9. The filmmakers will be present at screenings whenever possible. Doors open at 6 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy’s website.

The complete “Oscar’s Docs” screening schedule, from the Academy’s release, is as follows:

Monday, October 19

The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years (1998) - 37 mins.
At a community theater in Manhattan, a group of senior citizens rehearse and perform an original play about their romantic lives.
Featuring an onstage discussion with producer-director Keiko Ibi.

The Last Days (1998) - 87 mins. Five Jewish Hungarians, now U.S. citizens, tell their stories of joyous lives before World War II, the horrors of Nazi persecution, and how they survived the Holocaust.
Featuring an onstage discussion with director-editor James Moll, producer June Beallor and Holocaust survivor Renee Firestone.

Monday, October 26

King Gimp (1999) - 40 mins. This film follows Dan Keplinger, born with cerebral palsy, from age 12 until his graduation from college, documenting his struggles with mainstream acceptance and his birth as an artist.
Featuring an onstage discussion with co-director and producer Susan Hannah Hadary.

One Day in September (1999) - 94 mins. This film revisits the international crisis that unfolded when members of the Palestinian group Black September took Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

Monday, November 2

Big Mama (2000) - 40 mins. An 89-year-old African-American woman in Los Angeles struggles to raise her troubled grandson against immense odds.
Featuring an onstage discussion with producer-director Tracy Seretean.

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000) - 122 mins. One of the lesser-known stories of the Holocaust is that of the Kindertransport, which saved the lives of 10,000 Jewish children.
Followed by a panel discussion with writer-director Mark Jonathan Harris, producer Deborah Oppenheimer and editor Kate Amend.

Monday, November 9

Thoth (2001) - 40 mins. In New York’s Central Park, the iconoclastic artist Thoth presents original one-man operas in an unknown language, accompanied by his exuberant violin performances.
Featuring an onstage discussion with producer Lynn Appelle.

Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001) - 111 mins. An African-American teenager is accused of murdering a woman in Florida, but his lawyer reopens the investigation and finds some crucial evidence supporting his client’s innocence.

Monday, November 16

Twin Towers (2002) - 34 mins. An elite NYPD emergency response unit, on call for a variety of extreme situations, took a heavy blow on 9/11, including the loss of Detective Joseph Vigiano, a talented officer whose family was rooted in public service.
Featuring an onstage discussion with executive producer and co-director Robert David Port, and producer Dan Sturman.

Bowling for Columbine (2002) - 120 mins. As filmmaker Michael Moore explores gun culture and the roots of gun violence in the United States, he offers a personal examination of the fear, bigotry and brutality that pervades American society.

Monday, November 23

Chernobyl Heart (2003) - 39 mins. This film traces the effects of a radiation disaster on the children of Belarus, through the country’s hospitals, cancer centers, orphanages and mental asylums.
Featuring an onstage discussion with producer-director Maryann DeLeo.

The Fog of War (2003) - 107 mins. Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara provides startling insights into his involvement in World War II, his controversial decisions during the Vietnam War, and his later years as president of the World Bank.

Tickets to Oscar’s Docs are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. A limited number of series passes for all six evenings of screenings are available for $15 for the general public and $10 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. (Previous “Oscar’s Docs” passholders can renew their old passes for a $5 discount. )

Doors open one hour prior to the event. All seating is unreserved. The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy’s website.

Photos: Courtesy A.M.P.A.S.

Oscar winners Mark Jonathan Harris Deborah OppenheimerOscar winners Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer with ‘Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport’ talent.

Oscar-winning documentary ‘Into the Arms of Strangers’ Academy screening

Nov. 4 update: As part of its “Oscar’s Docs” series, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000) at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood on Monday, Nov. 2, ’09.

Pictured above following the screening (left to right):

  • Composer Lee Holdridge.
  • Oscar-winning producer Deborah Oppenheimer.
  • Oscar-winning writer/director Mark Jonathan Harris.
  • Editor Kate Amend.
  • Associate producer Alicia Dwyer.

According to the Academy’s cursory synopsis for Into the Arms of Strangers, the film revolves around “one of the lesser-known stories of the Holocaust.” That’s what’s called Kindertransport, which “saved the lives of 10,000 Jewish children.”

Photo: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.

Oscar winner Tracy SereteanOscar winner Tracy Seretean: ‘Big Mama’ screening.

Oscar-winning documentary ‘Big Mama’ screening

Pictured above is Oscar-winning producer/director Tracy Seretean, whose Big Mama (2000) was also screened at the Linwood Dunn on Nov. 2.

The 40-minute Big Mama features an 89-year-old black woman struggling to raise her grandson in Los Angeles’ urban jungle.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

‘Manon’ & ‘Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired’ Screening

On Oct. 1, UCLA’s James Bridges Theater (website) will be screening Henri-Georges Clouzot’s (right) modernized version of Manon (1949) at 5 p.m., and, at 7:30 p.m., Marina Zenovich’s now much-discussed documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008), about the circus surrounding the legal (and at times apparently illegal) maneuverings throughout Roman Polanski’s trial for having sex with a minor in the late 1970s. Admission is free.

I’m assuming that Wanted and Desired will be packed. So, be ready to stand in line. Also, it should be noted that one of the prosecutors in the case, David Wells, has just recently recanted the story he told Zenovich, which revealed unethical behavior on the part of the judge assigned to Polanski’s case. Wells now says that he lied.

I’m also assuming that Manon will not be packed. That’s too bad, as it’s supposed to be a solid crime drama. It was on TV 5 a few weeks ago, but unfortunately I missed it. Serge Reggiani (the hero in Jacques Becker’s beautiful Casque d’or) and Cécile Aubry (Tyrone Power’s leading lady in The Black Rose) star as, respectively, a French Resistance activist and a former Nazi collaborator about to be lynched by angry mob. They hook up, and as a result all sorts of romantic, sexual, and psychological problems ensue. Michel Auclair is also in the cast.

The James Bridges will be screening the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s rare 35mm print of Manon.

The Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired info below is from the James Bridges Theater’s website:

What happens when one of the world’s most famous directors gets trapped inside one of his own movies?

Thirty years ago, Roman Polanski was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. After serving 42 days in prison, he fled the US and has never returned.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired reopens this complex and controversial case and challenges many of the myths which have built up around it. Drawing on interviews with many of the key players, the film raises major questions about the workings of the US legal system and the media. It also examines the role of the judge, Judge Laurence Rittenband — a man who was determined to cut Polanski down to size.

In the film, many of the main participants admit that the Polanski case was disastrously mishandled. Roger Gunson, the Assistant DA who led the original prosecution reveals his personal doubts about Judge Rittenband’s conduct. Gunson admits he is not surprised that Polanski fled under “those circumstances.”

Polanski’s attorney Douglas Dalton breaks his 30 year silence to reveal the extraordinary backstage manoeuvres during the case which eventually led Polanski to flee. We also hear from the woman at the center of the case, Samantha Geimer, who now wishes her mother had never called the police in the first place. Thirty years on, the Polanski case still stirs strong emotions. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired is the untold story of what really happened.

Directions and parking (be aware that parking at UCLA ain’t cheap):

  • From Hilgard Ave. enter the east side of campus at Wyton Dr.
  • Make and immediate right turn onto Charles E. Young Dr. East and signs will direct you to Parking Structure 3.
  • From the ground level of Structure 3, enter the underpass (or from the street level cross Charles E. Young Dr. North and proceed down steps) and walk straight alongside Melnitz and Macgowan Halls.
  • Turn left at the plaza and proceed to the courtyard of theaters.

‘Memories of a Mexican,’ ‘Tapestries of Hope’ Screenings: The Mexican Revolution & the Power of Virgin Blood

According to the Million Dollar Theater site, the screening of Memories of a Mexican (1950) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, “will showcase the historic documentary feature” about the Mexican Revolution, which consists of pioneer Mexican filmmaker Salvador Toscano’s original film material – shot in the 1910s and featuring the likes of Pancho Villa and others – “edited into a narrative” by his daughter Carmen Toscano.

The Million Dollar Theatre is located in downtown Los Angeles. Click on the poster above for more detailed information about the film’ screening schedule.

PRESS RELEASE

Freshwater Haven, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the dramatic social change that is required to stop the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of women, announced today it’s production, Tapestries of Hope, will be shown at an exclusive screening on Sunday, October 18, 2009 in New York City. This special event will be followed by screenings at the United States Department of State and in the Capitol Visitors Center Theater 10/20/09.

Tapestries of Hope is an astounding story told through the eyes of filmmaker Michealene Cristini Risley. The film captures her sojourn to Africa as she investigated the longstanding myths surrounding the power of virgin blood, including its ability to cure HIV/AIDS.

Documenting the work of Zimbabwean child and human rights activist Betty Makoni and her organization, Girl Child Network, Tapestries follows the journey to healing taken by the girls who arrive at GCN daily. Caught in the crossfire of a country devastated by poverty, limited medicine, and the increasing use of girls as charms to heal illness, Tapestries allows us to witness the resiliency of these girls who refuse to be defined by their abuse.

“As an activist and filmmaker, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share Tapestries of Hope with a New York audience,” said filmmaker Michealene Cristini Risley. “It is my hope that that increased awareness brought about by this documentary will lead to a dramatic shift in the way society and many governments deal with issues surrounding sexual violence and HIV/AIDS.”

This year, Tapestries of Hope has been awarded BEST DOCUMENTARY at the 2009 Louisville International Festival of Film, received an AWARD OF MERIT from the Accolade Film Awards and an Aloha Accolade at the 2009 Honolulu International Film Festival.

Freshwater Haven will be the beneficiary of the film screening at Tribeca Cinemas in downtown Manhattan. The event, hosted by Kevin Powell, Rachel Roy and Saranne Rothberg will begin at 6:00 pm and feature a special musical performance by The Bonde.

To attend the screening, please RSVP to Michelle Titus, Executive Director of Freshwater Haven, by October 15th. michelle@freshwaterhaven.org Admission to the event is free however donations are encouraged.

About Freshwater Haven

Freshwater Haven is a non-profit organization founded to address the dramatic social change that is required to stop physical, sexual and emotional abuse of women and children. Freshwater Haven is dedicated to:

  • Bringing about awareness of abuse throughout the world by presenting society with a mirror of truth;
  • Promoting healing by reaching victims and giving them a voice;
  • Prompting cultural and social outlets for change while encouraging governmental action via advocacy.

Fresh Water Haven sponsors and supports domestic and international groups or facilities serving those affected by abuse. More information is available at www.freshwaterhaven.org and www.tapestriesofhope.com.

‘The End of Poverty?’ US Release

Philippe Diaz’s documentary The End of Poverty?, which premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival‘s Critics’ Week sidebar and has been screened at more than two dozen international film festivals, will be released nationwide by Cinema Libre (website) starting in New York City on November 13 (at the Village East Cinema), followed by Los Angeles on November 25 (at the Laemmle Sunset 5 and Culver Plaza Theaters), with a platform release to follow including runs in Seattle, Portland, and Austin, and later in Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

“Most of the experts interviewed in the film had predicted the current economic crisis more than two years ago, when we started to film, explaining that a system based on a neoliberal policies and the fraudulent trickle-down theory can only collapse one day or another,” Diaz is quoted as saying in the film’s press release. “It is great that Michael Moore is attacking the bankers and the financial establishment in his new film, but the end of greed on Wall Street will not end poverty in the world. The problem is much deeper than that; it is centuries old. Our economic system since colonial times requires cheap labor and cheap resources from the global South to succeed and to finance our lifestyle in the North. Without changing that we will never alleviate poverty.”

Martin Sheen provides the narration for The End of Poverty?, which, as per the release, “connects the dots from colonialism to modern times in an indictment of the creation of the free market system, the system now blamed for the worst global recession in decades. … [Thus] revealing that poverty is not an accident. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, global poverty has reached new levels because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies – in other words, wealthy countries exploiting the weaknesses of poor, developing countries such that today 20 percent of the planet’s population uses 80 percent of its resources and consumes 30 percent more than the planet can regenerate.”

The documentary features Nobel prize winners in economics Amartya Sen (above) and Joseph Stiglitz; authors Susan George (Another World Is Possible If), Eric Toussaint (The World Bank: A Never Ending Coup d’Etat), John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man), Chalmers Johnson (Nemesis: The Last Days of the America Republic), Brookings Institute fellow and author William Easterly (White Man’s Burden); Bolivia’s vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera, and leaders of social movements in Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Photos: Courtesy Cinema Libre.

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